Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Don't Let My Silence Fool You

I'm still pissed but sometimes I have to take a break and breathe. I spent the weekend holding my baby, smelling her hair, feeling the way her tiny body nestles against mine at night, admiring the way her eyelashes fall against the smoothness of her check. Bliss. But I have to admit that all weekend I felt the bittersweetness of such bliss. Because you know there are mom's out there who no longer have their child to bliss out over. Damn it. It's bad enough that I have live in fear of cancer, early onset Alzheimer's, febrile seizures now I live in fear of what the cops or other people who don't value the humanity of my child might do to said child. I live this fear doubly because I feel for my beautiful son too. We know how brown people are treated in this country. Espcially brown boys.

And of course since I never really disengaged, I did read this weekend: No Pity by Joseph Shapiro. It's a great book, interesting and informative. But I'm still waiting to find Jude there. He mentions "r------" people every once in awhile (and yeah I know the book is dated but it still rubs me the wrong way). There are pinnacle moments for each group he talks about...that makes good journalism....but I don't see one for Jude or for people like her. Maybe it's still coming down the line...but I kind of think we have one staring us in the face. Damn it, someone killed one of our OWN. And our national groups are sitting on their hands talking about training and sensitivity. Why are we not being urged to take the streets like they did at Gallaudet University? Why are we not staging sit ins as disability rights activist did in 1977?

I commented on Down Syndrome Uprising that we had our "hoodie" moment. For me, I believe it lies in our stereotype in the happy person with Down syndrome or in the brilliant words of Atypicaldad the eternal infantilization of people with Down syndrome. This is when stereotypes kill. Just like they killed Trayvon Martin. Just as surely as a brown man can not flip his hoodie up neither can a man with Down syndrome get upset.

We are living in a world where people with intellectually disabilities are not treated equally. They are diminished and not valued. They are reduced to stereotypes that strip them of their humanity in the eyes of others. They are beaten, given substandard medical care, they undergo forced sterilization, they are not given the chance to perform meaningful work (including in the arts, etc), they often do nhot have a chance to gain higher education. Our world is not hospitable to those with intellectual disabilities. This is not the world I want for Jude.

When  are our national groups (we have plenty to choose from) going to call for marching in the streets? Is there a way for our community to do this on our own? Why aren't people angry? Like EVERYONE?  I'm personally tired of cute pictures of kids with Down syndrome (okay not really cause hey cute kids) and I'm really sick of the inspirporn. Instead I want some of kind of clear leadership organizing all over the globe. Can't we bus people into protest in Maryland? Instead, a bunch of angry parents (yay us) are keeping the fire burning. Demanding justice. Because again...We are Ethan Saylor.

Take a moment to create some tension.

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